Join the Lunch Wars

Yesterday I blogged about what school lunches used to look like when I went to school, and compared them to the school lunches being served in my kids' elementary school today. As far as I can tell, these school lunches aren't making the grade, in my kids' school and in schools across the country. Fortunately, parents and people in many communities are banding together to do something about it. We've all heard of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, the tv series chronicling Naked Chef Jamie Oliver's efforts to introduce healthier food into the school lunch system. Alice Waters and her Edible Schoolyard program have made the Berkeley school district a model for healthy school lunches nationwide. There's even a documentary called Two Angry Moms, chronicling two mothers' year-long crusade to improve school lunches in Texas.

Now the producer of the Two Angry Moms movie is inviting parents everywhere to take the food fight into their own school cafeterias with a new book, Lunch Wars: How to Start a School Food Revolution and Win the Battle for Our Children's Health. I recently received a copy of the book courtesy of the BlogHer Book Club, and boy is it a tough read. Tough, because it tells parents things they'd probably rather not hear:

* Like how much salt, sugar and preservatives are in cafeteria food;
* Like how easy it is for kids to buy candy, soda and junk food to eat for lunch;
* Like how poor nutrition is linked to poor performance at school and poor behavior everywhere.

If you're reading this book, you probably already know this stuff, and Amy is already preaching to the choir (I'd say you're already drinking the Kool Aid, but we all know Kool Aid is horrible stuff). But what makes Lunch Wars unique is that it actually gives people the information they need to make a change in their own communities......

* Like how difficult it is for school districts to come up with a menu that meets nutritional and cost guidelines;
* Like how you can find other concerned parents in your own community;
* Like how you can work with local organizations (like local farmers and co-ops) to put organic, local produce in school lunches;
* Like what a school wellness committee is and how you can work with them;
* Like what other people are actually doing to improve school lunches in their community.
* Like how you can find other concerned parents in your own community.

All great, eye-opening, inspiring stuff, but really tough to read. There's no question that Lunch Wars is informative and empowering. And that's what makes it so tough, because the question you really have to ask yourself after reading the book is,

*Now that I know all this, what am I going to do with it? *

And that gives rise to a whole new set of questions, like

* What's the food in my child's school like?
* Should I be starting a campaign to improve the lunches at my kids school?
* Should I rock the boat?

And finally, the Mother of All Questions....

*Am I a bad mom if I don't?

Like I said, it's tough. And only you can answer these questions. Doing so is kind of like eating brussels sprouts; icky, but good for you. Then again, brussels sprouts aren't bad at all; they're Linkquite delicious actually, as are most veggies when you try them. So you should actually be thanking Lunch Wars for making you try those brussels sprouts!

Disclosure: This was a paid review for the BlogHer Book Club, but the opinions expressed are my own

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I'm not drinking the kool-aid. I think Amy Kafala would have the whole country living on goat cheese and veggies from her garden.

Enjoyed your review.

I am perfectly fine with school lunches as they are.